Destiny 2: Lightfall Difficulty Changes for Nightfalls, Vanguard Ops, and more

Article Update: 2/23/2023 – Additional information on Surge/Threat/Overcharge, Master raid difficulty, and improved rewards.

In the latest article “Bringing challenge back to Destiny“, Bungie went over their plans to provide a more challenging experience for several PvE activities. Here is a look at those changes coming with Destiny 2: Lightfall on February 28, 2023.

“Philosophically, we are attempting to bring the difficulty levels of Legend closer to the popular Legendary Campaign experience, and the Master experience closer to day-one raids. At the same time, any high-difficulty ritual content is designed to last many playthroughs over multiple Seasons, so we’re making some changes week-over-week and Season-over-Season to keep them fresh. Here’s a breakdown of the changes coming to several high-difficulty activities starting with Lightfall.” –Bungie)

Season 20 Activity Levels

Adept has been removed.

Hero: 1770

  • Hero can be entered at 1750 Power (Soft Cap)

Legend: 1830

Master: 1840

  • Legend and Master can be entered at 1800 Power (Power Cap).


With the release of Lightfall, Nightfalls are going to be a bit more challenging, this is mostly due to the implementation of Power level disadvantages shown below. Bungie is making this change “to provide a better challenge curve”.

As for some changes, Mars Heist Battleground will be joining the Nightfall rotation in Season of Defiance, other Battlegrounds will become part of the playlist in following Seasons. Enemies will also be harder to stagger and have increased health, although “the effect is strongest on powerful enemies and weakest on rank-and-file”.

Some things that Bungie mentioned are not changing, include the Equipment Locked modifier on Hero and above. As well as, any modifier that affects enemy type (i.e. Fire Pit) and fireteam coordination such as Togetherness will be sticking around. Champion availability, revive limitations, wipe conditions and schedule for Grandmaster Nightfall will all remain the same.

Starting in Season 20, Acute Burn is being replaced with Surge, Threat, and Overcharge.

Power Levels

  • Hero: 1770
  • Legend: 1830
  • Master: 1840
  • Grandmaster: 1840

Power Level Disadvantages

  • Hero: -5 Power levels
  • Legend: -15 Power levels
  • Master: -20 Power levels
  • Grandmaster Nightfalls: -25 Power levels

NOTE: Match Game is being removed with the release of Lightfall. Instead, mismatched shields will take less damage throughout Destiny 2.

Strikes and Vanguard Ops

“Ritual activities are at the core of the Destiny 2 experience. That’s why we have plans to improve on these familiar playlists that we all cherish so much. Today, we are focusing on the Vanguard Ops playlist.”

Here’s a look at updates coming for Strikes and the Vanguard Ops playlist:

  • Lake of Shadows and Arms Dealer will be refreshed to be more in line with more recent strikes.
  • Exodus Crash and The Inverted Spire have been taken out of the Nightfall rotation (until they are on the same level as other strikes) and their presence will be dramatically reduced on the Vanguard Ops playlist.
  • PsiOps Battlegrounds and Heist Battlegrounds will be joining the Vanguard Ops playlist.
  • Power Disabled will be enabled for Vanguard Ops, like Crucible and Gambit.
  • Daily rotators and the weekly Singe are being removed and replaced with a Surge, Threat, and random modifier.
  • Strike Scoring returns
  • Changes to Vanguard Ops challenges in order to work with Seasonal/Weekly Surge.

About Surges, Threats, and Overcharged

“Burns in high-level activities will be split into Surges and Threats.”


Surges is a modifier that increases elemental damage dealt by 25% when it matches the featured Surge. Kinetic weapons will also have increased damage if the subclass matches the featured Surge (for example: if the Surge is Strand, equipping a Strand subclass would grant the Kinetic weapon buff). Surges will change every Season based around the featured damage type, in Season of Defiance the Featured Surge will be Strand and the Weekly Rotating Surge will be Solar and Void. Threats will deal increased elemental damage by 25%.

  • Surges change every Season based around featured damage types.
    • Season of Defiance Featured Surge: Strand
    • Weekly Rotating Surge: Solar and Void

Overcharged weapons

A new mechanic is arriving with Lightfall called Overcharge. Overcharged weapons deal 25% more damage and come from two different sources. Currently any Champion Mod from the Season Artifact and weapons “set per activity” will have the Overcharge buff. Please note, Overcharges and Surges do not stack.

Other Activities

“We are aware that Lost Sectors and weekly campaign missions are not as rewarding as the community would like. We actually agree. Same thing with Dares of Eternity and The Wellspring. The passion around them is appreciated and your feedback is always clear: they should be a bit more challenging. Here are our plans to improve not only them, but other activities, too.”

Other High-level activities such as Lost Sectors, Nightmare and Empire Hunts, Campaign Weekly Missions, Dares of Eternity, Wellspring, Master Raids and Dungeons, and Seasonal Battlegrounds Playlists are also included with these changes. Overcharge, Surges, and Threats will be added to all of these activities (amounts vary). There will not be any Threat modifier on Raids or Dungeons and Bungie has not increased health or stagger resistance since they “want to bring them into line with other Master experiences without the need to buildcraft toward Surges or Overcharges”. The Seasonal Battlegrounds will share the same -5 Power Level setting that Heist Battlegrounds had in Season 19 (Season of the Seraph).

One that caught my attention the most, is that Bungie mentioned they will be monitoring completions and drops, to see if Exotic engram drop rates need to be adjusted. They also stated there will be other paths to earn Lightfall Exotic armor that can be discovered on 2/28!

Bungie recently updated their blog post, to include details about reward structure changes to Nightfall and Lost Sectors.

Details via Bungie


  • Old
    • Small chance of up to two Enhancement Prisms.
    • One Enhancement Core and a small chance of up to two more.
  • New
    • One Enhancement Prism and a medium chance at one more.
    • Two Enhancement Cores and a medium chance of one more.


  • Old
    • One Enhancement Prism and a small chance at up to two more.
  • New
    • Small chance of one Ascendant Shard.
    • Two Enhancement Prisms and a medium chance of up to two more.


  • Old
    • Medium chance of one Ascendant Shard.
    • Two Prisms and small chance of up to two more.
  • New
    • One Ascendant Shard and a small chance of one more.
    • Two Enhancement Prisms and a medium chance of up to two more.


  • Old
    • One Ascendant Shard and a medium chance of one more.
    • Four Enhancement Prisms and a medium chance of up to two more.
  • New
    • One Ascendant Shard and a high chance of one more.
    • Four Enhancement Prisms and a medium chance of up to two more.

A similar pass has been done for Lost Sectors:


  • Old
    • Small chance of one Enhancement Core.
  • New
    • Two Enhancement Cores and a medium chance of one more.
    • One Enhancement prism and a small chance of one more.


  • Old
    • Small chance of up to two Enhancement Cores.
  • New
    • Two Enhancement Cores and a medium chance at one more.
    • One Enhancement Prism and a medium chance at one more.

Source:  Bungie

As we said Lightfall and the Year Ahead article, all the variety in the world would not matter if the content itself was not engaging and interesting. In other words, there’s no substitute for a good challenge. With all these changes coming to activities, we hope we’re able to reignite the excitement for some of our favorite content in the game. Only seven more days to go until you can test all of this yourselves in Lightfall.”

To get full details, I recommend checking out the full article on as well as the Lightfall and the Year Ahead article for a more in-depth look at changes coming in the year of Lightfall.

Destiny 2: Lightfall is less than one week away! Tune in this Thursday, February 23 at 1 PM PST for the Lightfall Launch Trailer Premiere.

Source: Bungie

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